Good Words
New Play Development Workshop
Actors' Scene Showcase

The 2019 New Play Development Workshop is here!

Submission deadline is
Friday, March 1, 2019

The New Play Development Workshop is an opportunity for playwrights to hone a scene, a play, try something new in community with contemporaries in Chicago theatre, and to showcase work for producing directors and other theatre people. The group will meet for readings, talk, and community building for twice a month for three months before the show.

To enter please supply:Your resumeYour play idea & How it passes meets the above criteriaA writing sample – it is best if this is from the play you will be working on 

Email everything to WTANPDW@gmail.com

Make your Subject Line NPDW 2019 Submission

Please read the below criteria for selection:
This year weight will be given to plays which not only pass the Bechdel test, but also include at least one of following criteria innovated by writer Roxane Gay (and revised by us):

1. The story revolves around a person whose gender or sex is underrepresented. They are not relegated to the role of sidekick, romantic interest or bit player.

2. Their world is populated with intelligent figures, whose gender or sex is underrepresented who also have stories worth telling, even if their stories are not the focus.

3. If they must engage in a romantic storyline, they don’t have to compromise their sanity or common sense for love

4. It is the hope, that when attending theatre that tells the stories of those whose gender or sex is underrepresented, that half of the time, this individual should be a person of color and/or a queer woman and/or a gender nonconforming individual because ALL OF THESE PEOPLE EXIST.  However, their story should not focus solely on this difference because they are a sum of their parts. They are not the token. They have friends who are like them that show up once in a while.

5. They cannot live in an inexplicably perfect apartment in an expensive city with no visible means of affording it.

6. They don’t have to live up to an unrealistic feminist or queer standard. They can and should be human, they just need to be intelligent and witty and interesting in the way people, the world over, are when we get a chance to really see them.

Are you up for the challenge?
We will present a showcase of up to 8 playwrights’ answers to this call on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019 at The Greenhouse 2257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614, www.greenhousetheatre.org. Tech on July 8.  Each playwright will have a maximum of 15 minutes of stage time; perhaps take this opportunity to try your hand at a one act, or to find a new voice?



1. Three months to hone your play in a welcoming, supportive environment.

2. Working with an excellent, experienced director, committed to new works

3. Being a part of the audition process of Chicago's amazing actors.

4. Your work being shown at a premier Chicago venue, the Greenhouse Theater.

5. The experience of working with others, helping them hone their work as they help you hone yours.

What are my obligations as a playwright if I’m selected?  

1. To cover costs of production, you will be assessed a one-time fee of $45.  Please do not let this stop you from submitting if this represents a hardship, leadership will work it out with you on an individual basis.

2.  Playwrights must attend and contribute their work to NPDW meetings. Failure to do so may disqualify you from being able to have your scene produced on stage at the end of the program.

3. The WTA will be mentioned in the program at any future readings or productions of the play.

Your fee offsets the cost for space and a technician the night of the show. All time committed to the project by the WTA is voluntary.


First meeting - Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Auditions - Saturday, May 11, 2019

Tech - Monday, July 8, 2019

Show - Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Playwrights are expected to attend as many meetings as possible, one of these meetings will be Auditions, one will be a matchmaking session with directors. Directors will choose the plays they wish to direct. Playwrights will have right of refusal. Playwrights will choose which scene or portion of the play will be performed.

All time committed to the project by the WTA is voluntary. WTA will provide to each playwright: 1 director, Actors, 4 chairs, 1 table, lighting as available within the theatre (no refocusing), sound technician (but will not provide, nor design sound), publicity, programs, meeting space and technical rehearsal. The WTA is not responsible for securing or delivering any other technical elements, furniture or hand props, but the coordinator will do her best to help. Please do not assume that anything other than what is listed will be provided without specific conversations with  the event organizers

What is the NPDW?

The Women’s Theatre Alliance New Play Development Workshop brings playwrights, directors, and actors together to develop new work. Through peer group sessions, playwrights have a chance to hear their scenes read aloud by local actors and to receive feedback which will help them work toward the goal of a completed draft by the end of the workshop.

The NPDW is designed for playwrights who understand the fundamentals of playwriting and directors who are comfortable and sensitive to the delicate process of creating new work. This is not a class. The workshop is not a service but a program that is supported and administered by its participants. The WTA board, staff, and programming directors are all volunteers and members of the WTA.

The New Play Development Workshop brings playwrights, directors, and actors together to facilitate the development of new work.

How do I find a director and actors to work with?  

If there's a director you know that you would like to work with, contact them to discuss it. We will invite directors who have shown interest and acumen with new plays. You will meet each other and discuss the ideas the playwrights are working on. The WTA and your director will assist with the casting process for the final performance and will invite actors to attend and participate in the reading and feedback portion of the regular meetings.  

About the final scene productions:

The end product will be an off-book scene presentation with minimal technical elements. Although the WTA will publicize the event, note that you are also responsible for creating your audience. The NPDW asks for a $10 donation at the door from the general public. WTA recommends that the writer, director and cast schedule at least 4 rehearsals of 2-3 hours in length prior to the performance date and outside of our scheduled meeting times. WTA Insists that playwrights be given the utmost respect, are invited to every rehearsal, and are considered integral to the process.